The Pittsburgh Steelers offseason continues on now and we too will continue on with our breakdown of the free agents as we inch closer towards the start of free agency. Next up on the list of unrestricted free agents is safety Will Allen.
Player: Will Allen
Experience: 9 Years
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2012 Salary Cap Hit: $1,605,000.00
2012 Season Breakdown: Allen was signed to a three year deal by the Steelers in March of 2010 after spending his first six seasons in the league with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During his time in Tampa Bay Allen played for Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who was the Buccaneers defensive backs coach from 2001-05.
During his first two seasons with the Steelers Allen made most of his contributions on special teams and only saw less than 50 snaps on defense during that time. In 2012 that all changed as Allen was thrust into the starting strong safety spot after Ryan Mundy failed to adequately fill in for the injured Troy Polamalu, who was sidelined most of the season with a calf injury. In his first start against the Tennessee Titans in Week 5 Allen recorded 8 total tackles and forced 1 fumble in the loss. He would go on to start the next 6 games and helped stabilize a defensive secondary that struggled in the first part of the season. Allen finished the year with 34 total tackles and 3 passes defensed in addition to the 1 forced fumble.
Interesting enough, when Allen was on the field last season the Steelers allowed an average per pass of 4.48 yards versus 5.25 yards when he wasn\'t on the field. Allen recorded 4 of his 34 total tackles on special teams, but was flagged twice for holding during the year as well.
Free Agency Outlook: Allen is known as being a favorite of Tomlin\'s, and he certainly contributed more than anyone thought that he would in 2012. At this point in his career, however, he remains mostly known as a special teams ace. The Steelers need to upgrade their backup strong safety spot this offseason and will most likely do that at some point during the draft.
Allen also has become susceptible to stingers and he left the field a few times last season after suffering them. He will turn 31 in June so this will be another strike against him moving forward. The Ohio State product will not receive any attention during the free agency signing period and as a result he must sit and wait to see if the Steelers want him to come back and compete for a roster spot in training camp. Should he wind up being re-signed, it would be a one-year qualifying contract for the minimum that comes with a reduced salary cap hit. That is, however, a long-shot to happen so it appears that his time in Pittsburgh will most likely come to an end.
Other 2012 Steelers Free Agent Player Analysis
Charlie Batch - Unrestricted Free Agent
Casey Hampton - Unrestricted Free Agent
Plaxico Burress - Unrestricted Free Agent
Larry Foote - Unrestricted Free Agent
Byron Leftwich - Unrestricted Free Agent
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